The British Journal of Psychiatry
Perceived stigma and depression among caregivers of patients with bipolar disorder
DEBORAH A. PERLICK, DAVID J. MIKLOWITZ, BRUCE G. LINK, ELMER STRUENING, RICHARD KACZYNSKI, JODI GONZALEZ, LAUREN N. MANNING, NANCY WOLFF, ROBERT A. ROSENHECK

Abstract

This study investigates the associations between perceived stigma, depressive symptoms and coping among caregivers of people with bipolar disorder. Caregivers of 500 people with DSM–IV bipolar disorder responded to measures of these constructs at study entry. Patients’ clinical and functional status were evaluated within 30 days of the caregiver assessment. Perceived stigma was positively associated with caregiver depressive symptoms, controlling for patient status and socio-demographic factors. Social support and avoidance coping accounted for 63% of the relationship between caregiver stigma and depression. Results suggest that caregivers’ perceptions of stigma may negatively affect their mental health by reducing their coping effectiveness.

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